Grading Thunder players in exciting win over Bulls

Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Three players scored over 20 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder on its way to victory over the DeMar DeRozan-less Chicago Bulls. Stifling Thunder’s defense led to the easy offense as the Thunder coasted its way to a big win on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 124-110 on Friday night behind electric performances across the board.

Usually, teams tend to rest their key players on the second night of a back-to-back, but just a day after the Thunder handily defeated the 76ers, everybody was back on the floor to face the Bulls.

Early into this game, OKC was very active on defense and on the glass. Back-to-back blocks gave the squad a ton of energy and the Thunder went on a 12-2 run early in the first quarter. Lindy Waters III entered off the bench and immediately splashed two threes for the Thunder.

However, the Bulls got hot from downtown and went on a 13-0 run to stop the Thunder from pulling away. With DeRozan out, Chicago went away from their mid-range-heavy offense. Eventually, though, the Bulls’ shots stopped falling.

In the second quarter, Oklahoma City went on a spectacular 36-16 run. Darius Bazley played a huge part in this, scoring 11 points in the second quarter alone off the bench. Not to mention his active hands-on defense, constantly causing steals off deflections and leading to easy OKC offense on the other end.

At halftime, the Thunder found themselves up 72-58. In the third quarter, Josh Giddey scored eight straight points for OKC. However, the Bulls would get hot shooting again and make one key defensive change. After causing trouble for Alex Caruso early on, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was suppressed by the smothering defense of Derrick Jones Jr. The bulls outscored the Thunder by 13 in the third quarter.

After struggling to score in the third quarter, OKC got back to doing what they do best: turning defense into offense. Bazley played key minutes in the fourth, providing a much-needed spark late in the game. A fadeaway jumper from Josh Giddey proved to be the dagger for OKC.

110. 24. Final. 124. 149

The Thunder continue to play at a playoff level in the month of January. Back-to-back wins over competent teams in back-to-back days certainly feel good for the young OKC team.